Thursday, April 10, 2014

All Purpose Cleaners

Soap and Water

  • Blue Dawn Dish Soap (I never measure just give it a good squirt, maybe a tsp, maybe a couple)
  • Warm Water

Fill a spray bottle with warm water.  Add some Dawn Dish Soap.  Shake well.  This is the cleaner I reach for most often.  I use it to wash the table, counters, glass cooktop.  Basically all surfaces in the kitchen.  I used to use a soapy sponge to wipe down surfaces and then dry them with a dish towel, but it occurred to me that I could save a step by premixing Dawn and Water.  I've had someone ask if I washed the soap off after or what my thoughts were on the residue being left on surfaces.  If this bothers you, feel free to keep a spray bottle with just water in it to spray after, I personally don't feel this is necessary, mostly because I would not typically go back over an area cleaned with a sponge or even a different spray cleaner.

Glass/Window Cleaner


  • 2oz Rubbing Alcohol
  • 2oz White Vinegar
  • 1tbsp Cornstarch
  • 16oz Warm Water

Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake well.  Use to clean windows and mirrors.  I also use this as an all purpose kitchen cleaner and will also use it to wipe down the bathroom counters in between cleanings.

Vinegar and Water


  • 1 part White Vinegar
  • 1-2 parts Warm Water


Mix in a spray bottle.  You can use this to clean basically every surface.  It works well on mirrors, windows, counters, floors.  I started using a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of water to clean our floors, works great.  I will use this spray like you would use a wet swiffer between mopping (just spray the floor and wipe up, comes in handy during popsicle season!)

Bathroom Cleaner


  • 8oz White Vinegar
  • 4oz Blue Dawn Dish Soap
  • 4oz Lemon Juice
  • 10oz Warm water
  • 2tsp Baking soda


Add Baking Soda and Vinegar to spray bottle slowly and wait until they are done foaming.  Add the rest of the ingredients and shake well.  Spray down bathroom, wipe with a wet towel or rag.  I use this on the whole bathroom other than the mirrors and inside the toilet bowl (I am still not ready to give up my Clorox Toilet wand).  I have used it on my mirrors before and it actually works well, I just prefer to use my homemade glass/window cleaner instead.

Dishwasher Detergent


  • 2 parts Borax
  • 2 parts Washing Soda
  • 1 part Kosher Salt
  • 1 part Citric Acid


Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir (I prefer to use  a whisk).  Transfer to a container, use 1tbsp per load.  I also replaced our JetDry with white vinegar.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Laundry Detergent

I was running low on laundry detergent so I figured I would take pictures while I made it so I could do a quick post.  Making my own laundry detergent was something I've wanted to do for a while but I had a huge bottle of detergent I wanted to use up first.  This was my second time making it, it takes about 5 minutes to make and I have absolutely no complaints about it.  I will admit that at first I missed that "clean laundry smell," because it leaves my clothes with virtually no smell at all.  You can add essential oils if you want, but there is no need, my clothes are clean and odor free.  I'm actually quite impressed with it, when it comes to washing strong odors (like if Alex wets the bed or Aaron throws up) everything still comes out clean on the first wash.


  • 1 bar of Ivory Soap
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda


Put  your bar of soap into a large microwave safe bowl (I prefer glass) and microwave for about 2 minutes (it has to be ivory for this to work, if you choose to use fels naptha you will have to grate it by hand).  I like to flip it after a minute just to make sure all of it fluffs up.  It will look like this.

 After it has cooled crumble it with your hands.  I just break it up enough so that it will fit in my Blendtec and then pulse it til it is smooth.  Pour your Borax and Washing into your bowl and add your soap.  Mix it up good (I use a wisk) then transfer it to a container.  Use 1tbsp per load.  I wash between 6-9 loads of laundry a week and this batch will last me about 2-2.5 months.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Storing Berries

Since moving to Utah we had terrible luck with berries.  My boys love them, but no matter how quickly we tried to eat them, I was always throwing away at least a few each week.  About a year ago I started experimenting with different methods that were supposed to extend the life of berries, including storing them in open containers, wrapping them in damp paper towels, washing them in a vinegar/water rinse and letting them dry before storing them in open bowls.  None of these methods seemed to do a darn thing when it came to keeping my berries fresh.

I'm not even sure where I found this idea, but I haven't thrown out a berry since I did.  All I do is go thru my fresh berries and pick out any that are soft, overly juicy/ripe or moldy.  I toss any that aren't usable and then either freeze or make a smoothie out of the others.  Once I'm left with only good berries I transfer them to mason jars, I love quart sized jars for raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but since I typically buy strawberries in 2lb containers I store them in glass canisters that I found at target for a couple bucks.  I love these canisters by the way and have begun storing almost all of my baking supplies in them as well as my laundry detergent and dish washing detergent.

Anyways, store them loosely, no need to squish them in, and when done pop them in the fridge.  That's it!  When you are ready to use just rinse as you normally would and you are good to go.  I love that I can buy my berries in bulk and not worry about wasting them, over the summer I had strawberries last 2 weeks!  The key to keeping them fresh is to keep them dry and limit their exposure to air, so as I get down to the last few strawberries and the jar begins to fill with condensation I transfer them over to a smaller jar.  It always makes me happy when I open my fridge and see my jars of berries, hope this helps you save a little money on produce!

I might be crunchy

For whatever reason I have it set in my brain that I don't want to be classified as crunchy.  I have nothing against people who choose a more holistic approach to life, in fact I am constantly trying to find ways to eliminate chemicals, prepared foods/mixes, and the need to purchase products that I can make myself.  No one has even referred to me as "crunchy" but I think the fact that lots of the blogs I use for ideas are written by women who classify themselves as such makes me feel like I might be.  As I go thru the list of things that I believe qualify someone as meeting this stereotype I have become painfully aware of the fact that I just might be a little crunchy.

Over the last year or so I have eliminated the need of almost all of our commercially produced cleaning products.  I make my own bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, glass cleaner, stain remover, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, and use white vinegar instead of fabric softener and jet dry.  I make my own lotion, toothpaste, elderberry syrup and hand soap.  I make almost all of our own baking mixes including shake and bake and bisquick.  I not only participate in a joy school (in home preschool trade off with other moms) but recently started home schooling my first grader as well.  I am very much a supporter of natural childbirth, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, and baby wearing and will be cloth diapering our new baby A. 

As I look at this list I have to admit that I just might be a little crunchy. and maybe it isn't a bad thing to be classified as such.  Since switching over our cleaning products our house has looked and felt cleaner and we have had much less illness and speedier recoveries (elderberry syrup has helped us with this as well).  I have been able to stop using my very expensive prescription cream for my keratosis pilaris (red bumps that used to cover my arms) by switching to a coconut oil based lotion (which when mixed with some peppermint oil makes an amazing pain reliever).  And for the first time in 5 pregnancies I haven't developed any new cavities (I've averaged 2 new cavities per pregnancy, most of my molars have been filled twice).  In fact prior to switching to a homemade toothpaste I had never had a dental cleaning under an hour and most required a second visit.  I have extremely good oral hygiene, I floss multiple times a day and brush at least twice a day, but I am a plaque producer and a sugar lover.  Needless to say, just 4 weeks after switching toothpastes (and already suffering from severe sensitivity) my teeth were miraculously in perfect condition, and so clean that it took mere minutes for the hygienist to scrape and polish my teeth (oh and I haven't had any tooth sensitivity since about 2 weeks in).

I decided to write this blog post as a way to encourage/motivate myself to post about some of the recipes I'm using.  I realize that there are a thousand other blog posts about homemade laundry detergent, but sometimes trying a new recipe can be intimidating.  What if it doesn't work right?  What if you don't like it?  I thought it might be nice to have all my recipes in one easy to find place and maybe someone will try and like them too.  I am needing to make more laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent in the next week or two so I will post recipes when I make them. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste

As many of you know, over the last year I have been trying to remove chemicals from our home and have started making many of my own cleaners, mixes and even personal hygiene items.  During pregnancy I tend to have extremely sensitive teeth.  I average 2 new cavities per pregnancy, and this being my 5th pregnancy you can see why I wanted to do something to not only reduce my sensitivity but also to strengthen my teeth.  I've done a fair amount of reading on oil pulling, suppliments, remineralizing and natural/homemade toothpastes.
During Christmas vacation I ended up with a double ear infection that caused me so much tooth pain I was desperate.  I began by oil pulling (swishing a tbsp. of coconut oil around in my mouth for 15 minutes then spitting it out).  I did this twice a day for a few days and my mouth actually felt incredibly clean, but what I really wanted was a toothpaste that would help to strengthen my teeth in a way that tradition toothpastes were not.  I mixed up a paste of baking soda, sea salt, coconut oil and some peppermint essential oil, stored it in a small mason jar and began brushing with this "paste."  My teeth have NEVER been so clean, ever, not even right after a cleaning.  I am one of those people that despite my constant brushing always seem to have a plaque problem, especially on the back of my front bottom teeth, that plaque is completely gone.  My teeth still feel clean when I wake up in the morning, its kind of crazy!  I will say that while this works amazing, it's taste is not fantastic and I definitely couldn't get my kids (or even my husband) to make this switch.
So now that my mouth is sparkly clean I need to get to work remineralizing my teeth, in hopes of reducing any current weak spots and preventing new ones from coming.  I've had a few people express interest in trying out a remineralizing toothpaste so I figured I would make this post so you can see what it's all about. 
I have fallen in love with and found that she has a couple of recipes on her blog for homemade/remineralizing toothpastes.  I basically combined them together to form what I am currently using.  This is my first batch and I am still storing it in glass jars with plastic lids (so as to not activate the bentonite clay), once I perfect the recipe I would like to invest in one of these silicone squeezable tubes.
Here is what you need:
(I purchased my ingredients thru Amazon and received free 2 day shipping with AmazonPrime, it's my new favorite way to shop!)

  • 3 parts Calcium Powder
  • 3 parts Xylitol
  • 3 parts Baking Soda
  • 2 parts Bentonite Clay
  • 2 parts Celtic Sea Salt
  • 4 parts Coconut Oil (I purchase a 54oz jar of organic extra virgin, cold pressed, coconut oil at Sam's club for around $16, I use this in my homemade lotion that I will post eventually)
  • Essential oils (I typically use peppermint, wintergreen or a cinnamon one from Butterfly Express called Cinnamon Bear)
Measure out your ingredients in a glass bowl, since I was making a small batch I used tsps. as parts, but feel free to use tbsps. if you want to make a bigger batch.  Stir it together, I use a plastic baby spoon since when working with bentonite clay you want to avoid metal so as to not activate it.  Store in glass, I have found the 4oz jelly jars work great and you can recycle the plastic lids from 18oz peanut butter jars to use instead of the traditional sealing lid and ring to avoid metal.  You can also store in squeezable tubes like the one I linked above, but will probably need to add a couple parts of distilled water to help it squeeze easier.  Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid below 70 degrees and starts to melt around 70-75 degrees so depending on the temperature of your house this paste may be thicker or thinner. 

This takes all of 2 minutes to make and if you read up on the ingredients used they will help to strengthen, remineralize and whiten teeth while reducing sensitivity.  Just wet your brush, dip, brush as normal and rinse your mouth thoroughly.  If I can convince Aaron to jump on this band wagon I will make us our own jars so we don't share germs (I did find the jar in the shower this morning so he just might be in!). 

I hope this recipe helps, let me know what you think!  In addition to my sensitivity Aaron is battling a pretty painful cavity that may require a root canal, I'm hoping that this paste will help to heal his tooth to the point that it won't be necessary, will keep posted about that.